Judge approves 1 cent tax initiative for ballot

A Superior Court of Maricopa County judge has characterized Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s decision to reject the petition signatures of Quality Education and Jobs initiative supporters as “arbitrary and capricious” and ordered that his office continue the process of putting the initiative on the ballot.

After the ruling, Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, issued the following statement in which he attacked Republicans saying that the “failed to prioritize education and job creation.”

Campbell is referring to the fact that the tax will fund many construction projects, rather than all of the funds going into the classrooms.

The earmarks are supported by construction unions which will benefit from new education construction. The Yellow Sheet reports that the biggest contributor to the initiative campaign has been the Associated General Contractors-backed group We Build Arizona, which gave $130,000. AGC gave another $25,000, as well.

According to the Yellow Sheet, up to $250 million would go to the university fund, while up to $100 million would go to the state infrastructure fund.

Quality Education and Jobs initiative supporters left language off the petitions, which would have informed voters that monies in excess of $1.544 billion would be earmarked to a “University Scholarship, Operations and Infrastructure Fund” and to a “State Infrastructure Fund.”

The initiative, which is being sold to the public as a permanent revenue source for schools, may be unable to fund any educational efforts after its fifth year.

The Secretary of State may appeal the ruling.

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